Ayurveda is a lifestyle—a practice and a paradigm—not a prescription. There is no silver bullet to solve all your health problems. However, with special foods like Chyawanprash, perhaps we can get close! Though perhaps not the elixir of immortality, Chyawanprash is a delicious and complex rasayana. According to Ayurveda, this special food imparts numerous benefits to one’s health and wellbeing. Read on to learn more about Chyawanprash meaning, lore, and usages!
Chyawanprash Meaning and Lore
First, let’s explore the history and meaning of Chyawanprash. “Prash” means a specially prepared food (1) or supplement that is suitable for consumption (2). It also translates to 'mindful' or 'artful' consumption. Chyawan was an ancient rishi (sage). As the story goes, Chyawan was betrothed to a beautiful young woman. Realizing that his elderly, weakened body may not be satisfactory to his young wife, Chyawan commissioned the making of a rejuvenating herbal concoction. The intent was to revive his health and bestow youth and longevity. As lore informs us, the plan worked; not only was Chyawan rejuvenated and made young again, but the recipe was recorded in the ancient Charaka Samhita and handed down through the ages (3).
Variations on a Theme
Chyawanprash contains numerous nourishing herbs, called rasayanas. This special food builds ojas, and as was illustrated by sage Chyawan, supports vitality and longevity. If you are curious about the ingredients in Chyawanprash, you may find some differences from one resource to the next. However, the key ingredients remain the same across Chyawanprash recipes. Amla berry or amalaki forms the base of Chyawanprash. Amla is a powerful rasayana that is remarkably rich in vitamin C. Though it has a sour taste, it is cooling and therefore especially beneficial for pacifying Pitta dosha. That said, Chyawanprash is suitable for all three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Though this special jam is heavy and moist, as long as one’s agni (digestive fire) is adequately strong, it will not aggravate Kapha dosha nor will it cause the accumulation of toxins and metabolic wastes.
Chyawanprash Meaning and Lore Informs Its Usage
An ancient formula such as a Chyawanprash carries with it history and significance. By understanding the meaning and history behind chyawanprash, we can better understand how to use it. Chyawanprash can serve us much as it did the ancient rishi Chyawan. If you are looking for immune system support, rejuvenation, and ojas-building, a teaspoon or two of Chyawanprash daily offers a plethora of deeply nourishing herbs. Though Chyawanprash may not halt the aging process, this ancient tonic can support a life of health, vitality, and longevity.
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her practice, Asheville Ayurveda is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.
(1) Banyan Botanicals (2021). Chyawanprash. Retrieved from https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/diet/chyawanprash/ (2) Sharma, R., Martins, N., Kuca, K., Chaudhary, A. Kabra, A., Rao, M., & Prajapati, P.K. (2019). Chyawanprash: A Traditional Indian Bioactive Health Supplement. Biomolecules, 9(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050161 (3) Dharmananda, S. (n.d.). Chyawanprash: The Premier Rasayana of Ayurveda. Retrieved from http://www.itmonline.org/arts/chyawanprash.htm